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  • ATP-sensitive potassium channels in health and disease

    17 October 2018

    Since their discovery over 20 years ago, it has been recognized that adenosine triphosphate-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels play a critical role in insulin secretion. When these channels are open, insulin secretion is inhibited, and when they are shut, secretion is initiated. Consequently drugs, mutations, or changes in beta-cell metabolism that open KATP channels decrease insulin secretion and may cause diabetes, whereas those manipulations that close KATP channels have the opposite effect, increasing insulin secretion and hypoglycemia. This chapter reviews our current knowledge of the pancreatic beta-cell KATP channel, and discusses new data on its structure, structure-function relationships, and role in disease. © 2008 Springer.

  • Na+ current properties in islet α- and β-cells reflect cell-specific Scn3a and Scn9a expression.

    17 October 2018

    Mouse pancreatic β- and α-cells are equipped with voltage-gated Na(+) currents that inactivate over widely different membrane potentials (half-maximal inactivation (V0.5) at -100 mV and -50 mV in β- and α-cells, respectively). Single-cell PCR analyses show that both α- and β-cells have Nav1.3 (Scn3) and Nav1.7 (Scn9a) α subunits, but their relative proportions differ: β-cells principally express Nav1.7 and α-cells Nav1.3. In α-cells, genetically ablating Scn3a reduces the Na(+) current by 80%. In β-cells, knockout of Scn9a lowers the Na(+) current by >85%, unveiling a small Scn3a-dependent component. Glucagon and insulin secretion are inhibited in Scn3a(-/-) islets but unaffected in Scn9a-deficient islets. Thus, Nav1.3 is the functionally important Na(+) channel α subunit in both α- and β-cells because Nav1.7 is largely inactive at physiological membrane potentials due to its unusually negative voltage dependence of inactivation. Interestingly, the Nav1.7 sequence in brain and islets is identical and yet the V0.5 for inactivation is >30 mV more negative in β-cells. This may indicate the presence of an intracellular factor that modulates the voltage dependence of inactivation.

  • Functional Microarchitecture of the Mouse Dorsal Inferior Colliculus Revealed through In Vivo Two-Photon Calcium Imaging.

    17 October 2018

    UNLABELLED: The inferior colliculus (IC) is an obligatory relay for ascending auditory inputs from the brainstem and receives descending input from the auditory cortex. The IC comprises a central nucleus (CNIC), surrounded by several shell regions, but the internal organization of this midbrain nucleus remains incompletely understood. We used two-photon calcium imaging to study the functional microarchitecture of both neurons in the mouse dorsal IC and corticocollicular axons that terminate there. In contrast to previous electrophysiological studies, our approach revealed a clear functional distinction between the CNIC and the dorsal cortex of the IC (DCIC), suggesting that the mouse midbrain is more similar to that of other mammals than previously thought. We found that the DCIC comprises a thin sheet of neurons, sometimes extending barely 100 μm below the pial surface. The sound frequency representation in the DCIC approximated the mouse's full hearing range, whereas dorsal CNIC neurons almost exclusively preferred low frequencies. The response properties of neurons in these two regions were otherwise surprisingly similar, and the frequency tuning of DCIC neurons was only slightly broader than that of CNIC neurons. In several animals, frequency gradients were observed in the DCIC, and a comparable tonotopic arrangement was observed across the boutons of the corticocollicular axons, which form a dense mesh beneath the dorsal surface of the IC. Nevertheless, acoustically responsive corticocollicular boutons were sparse, produced unreliable responses, and were more broadly tuned than DCIC neurons, suggesting that they have a largely modulatory rather than driving influence on auditory midbrain neurons. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Due to its genetic tractability, the mouse is fast becoming the most popular animal model for sensory neuroscience. Nevertheless, many aspects of its neural architecture are still poorly understood. Here, we image the dorsal auditory midbrain and its inputs from the cortex, revealing a hitherto hidden level of organization and paving the way for the direct observation of corticocollicular interactions. We show that a precise functional organization exists in the mouse auditory midbrain, which has been missed by previous, more macroscopic approaches. The fine-scale distribution of sound-frequency tuning suggests that the mouse midbrain is more similar to that of other mammals than previously thought and contrasts with the more heterogeneous organization reported in imaging studies of auditory cortex.

  • Cardiac perfusion imaging using hyperpolarized (13)C urea using flow sensitizing gradients.

    17 October 2018

    PURPOSE: To demonstrate the feasibility of imaging the first passage of a bolus of hyperpolarized (13)C urea through the rodent heart using flow-sensitizing gradients to reduce signal from the blood pool. METHODS: A flow-sensitizing bipolar gradient was optimized to reduce the bright signal within the cardiac chambers, enabling improved contrast of the agent within the tissue capillary bed. The gradient was incorporated into a dynamic golden angle spiral (13)C imaging sequence. Healthy rats were scanned during rest (n = 3) and under adenosine stress-induced hyperemia (n = 3). RESULTS: A two-fold increase in myocardial perfusion relative to rest was detected during adenosine stress-induced hyperemia, consistent with a myocardial perfusion reserve of two in rodents. CONCLUSION: The new pulse sequence was used to obtain dynamic images of the first passage of hyperpolarized (13)C urea in the rodent heart, without contamination from bright signal within the neighboring cardiac lumen. This probe of myocardial perfusion is expected to enable new hyperpolarized (13)C studies in which the cardiac metabolism/perfusion mismatch can be identified. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance.

  • Robust and high resolution hyperpolarized metabolic imaging of the rat heart at 7 T with 3D spectral-spatial EPI.

    17 October 2018

    PURPOSE: Hyperpolarized metabolic imaging has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and management of diseases where metabolism is dysregulated, such as heart disease. We investigated the feasibility of imaging rodent myocardial metabolism at high resolution at 7 T. METHODS: We present here a fly-back spectral-spatial radiofrequency pulse that sidestepped maximum gradient strength requirements and enabled high resolution metabolic imaging of the rodent myocardium. A 3D echo-planar imaging readout followed, with centric ordered z-phase encoding. The cardiac gated sequence was used to image metabolism in rodents whose metabolic state had been manipulated by being fasted, fed, or fed and given the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase inhibitor dichloroacetate. RESULTS: We imaged hyperpolarized metabolites with a spatial resolution of 2×2×3.8 mm(3) and a temporal resolution of 1.8 s in the rat heart at 7 T. Significant differences in myocardial pyruvate dehydrogenase flux were observed between the three groups of animals, concomitant with the known biochemistry. CONCLUSION: The proposed sequence was able to image in vivo metabolism with excellent spatial resolution in the rat heart. The field of view enabled the simultaneous multi-organ acquisition of metabolic information from the rat, which is of great utility for preclinical research in cardiovascular disease. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance.

  • Light, heat, action: neural control of fruit fly behaviour.

    17 October 2018

    The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has emerged as a popular model to investigate fundamental principles of neural circuit operation. The sophisticated genetics and small brain permit a cellular resolution understanding of innate and learned behavioural processes. Relatively recent genetic and technical advances provide the means to specifically and reproducibly manipulate the function of many fly neurons with temporal resolution. The same cellular precision can also be exploited to express genetically encoded reporters of neural activity and cell-signalling pathways. Combining these approaches in living behaving animals has great potential to generate a holistic view of behavioural control that transcends the usual molecular, cellular and systems boundaries. In this review, we discuss these approaches with particular emphasis on the pioneering studies and those involving learning and memory.

  • Regulation of hippocampal synaptic plasticity thresholds and changes in exploratory and learning behavior in dominant negative NPR-B mutant rats.

    17 October 2018

    The second messenger cyclic GMP affects synaptic transmission and modulates synaptic plasticity and certain types of learning and memory processes. The impact of the natriuretic peptide receptor B (NPR-B) and its ligand C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), one of several cGMP producing signaling systems, on hippocampal synaptic plasticity and learning is, however, less well understood. We have previously shown that the NPR-B ligand CNP increases the magnitude of long-term depression (LTD) in hippocampal area CA1, while reducing the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP). We have extended this line of research to show that bidirectional plasticity is affected in the opposite way in rats expressing a dominant-negative mutant of NPR-B (NSE-NPR-BΔKC) lacking the intracellular guanylyl cyclase domain under control of a promoter for neuron-specific enolase. The brain cells of these transgenic rats express functional dimers of the NPR-B receptor containing the dominant-negative NPR-BΔKC mutant, and therefore show decreased CNP-stimulated cGMP-production in brain membranes. The NPR-B transgenic rats display enhanced LTP but reduced LTD in hippocampal slices. When the frequency-dependence of synaptic modification to afferent stimulation in the range of 1-100 Hz was assessed in transgenic rats, the threshold for both, LTP and LTD induction, was shifted to lower frequencies. In parallel, NPR-BΔKC rats exhibited an enhancement in exploratory and learning behavior. These results indicate that bidirectional plasticity and learning and memory mechanism are affected in transgenic rats expressing a dominant-negative mutant of NPR-B. Our data substantiate the hypothesis that NPR-B-dependent cGMP signaling has a modulatory role for synaptic information storage and learning.

  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Delivered Via a Multipolar Left Ventricular Lead is Associated with Reduced Mortality and Elimination of Phrenic Nerve Stimulation: Long-Term Follow-Up from a Multicenter Registry.

    17 October 2018

    INTRODUCTION: Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) using quadripolar left ventricular (LV) leads provides more pacing vectors compared to bipolar leads. This may avoid phrenic nerve stimulation (PNS) and allow optimal lead placement to maximize biventricular pacing. However, a long-term improvement in patient outcome has yet to be demonstrated. METHODS: A total of 721 consecutive patients with conventional CRTD criteria implanted with quadripolar (n = 357) or bipolar (n = 364) LV leads were enrolled into a registry at 3 UK centers. Lead performance and mortality was analyzed over a 5-year period. RESULTS: Patients receiving a quadripolar lead were of similar age and sex to those receiving a bipolar lead, although a lower proportion had ischemic heart disease (62.6% vs. 54.1%, P = 0.02). Both groups had similar rates of procedural success, although lead threshold, impedance, and procedural radiation dose were significantly lower in those receiving a quadripolar lead. PNS was more common in those with quadripolar leads (16.0% vs. 11.6%, P = 0.08), but was eliminated by switching pacing vector in all cases compared with 60% in the bipolar group (P < 0.001). Furthermore, LV lead displacement (1.7% vs. 4.6%, P = 0.03) and repositioning (2.0% vs. 5.2%, P = 0.03) occurred significantly less often in those with a quadripolar lead. All-cause mortality was also significantly lower in the quadripolar compared to bipolar lead group in univariate and multivariate analysis (13.2% vs. 22.5%, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In a large, multicenter experience, the use of quadripolar LV leads for CRT was associated with elimination of PNS and lower overall mortality. This has important implications for LV pacing lead choice.

  • Autonomic control of the heart: going beyond the classical neurotransmitters.

    17 October 2018

    NEW FINDINGS: What is the topic of this review? This symposium report discusses the evidence for release of cardiac sympathetic cotransmitters in addition to noradrenaline. What advances does it highlight? It highlights the potential role of neuropeptide Y in reducing vagal neurotransmission and directly influencing ventricular myocyte excitability in the presence of β-receptor blockade. Acute myocardial infarction and congestive cardiac failure are characterized by high levels of cardiac sympathetic drive. In these conditions, sympathetic neurotransmitters such as neuropeptide Y (NPY) can be released in addition to noradrenaline, and plasma levels correlate with infarct size and mortality. Even in the presence of β-blockers, NPY is able to bind to its own receptors located on cholinergic ganglia and ventricular myocytes. In this symposium report, I review the evidence that NPY can inhibit acetylcholine release during vagus nerve stimulation and limit the subsequent bradycardia. I also present preliminary, as yet unpublished data, demonstrating that NPY may be pro-arrhythmic by directly influencing ventricular electrophysiology. Targeting NPY receptors pharmacologically may therefore be a useful therapeutic strategy both to reduce heart rate and to prevent arrhythmias in the setting of myocardial infarction and chronic heart failure. Such medications would be expected to act synergistically with β-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and implantable cardiac devices, such as defibrillators and vagus nerve stimulators.